Garage Projects

The Mighty Merc – It’s Shocking and bumpy, and occasionally tracking the right way! (Part 1)

I spent way more time fretting about shock selection than I probably should have given what I wound up going with. The best I can tell, I needed about a 10-12” travel shock in the rear, and an 8” travel shock up front. With that in mind, I was going back and forth between the Bilstein shocks and the Rancho shocks. I had mixed luck with the Rancho’s on the last rig so I was hesitant to go down that road again. However, they were running a buy 3 get one free promo, and money is running out for the build, so the cheap route won out this time. The part numbers are as follows:

Rear: RS999060 (Collapsed 18.625”, Extended 30.5”, Travel 11.93”)
Front: RS999118 (Collapsed 14.375”, Extended 22.188”, Travel 7.83”)

The runner up part numbers for the Bilstein Shocks were:

Rear: 33-104652 (Collapsed 17”, Extended 28”, Travel 11”)
Front: 33-18590 (Collapsed 13.7”, Extended 21.7”, Travel 8”)

Now on the rear Rancho shocks, they came with a 9/16” sleeve on one end and the bar pin on the top. I wound up pushing out the 9/16” sleeve so that I could use a standard shock bolt (5/8”). The upper bar pin works with the stock Merc mounting. The Bilstein’s did not have this so I would have had to fabricate a new upper rear mount.

For bump stops, I went the easy route and grabbed some Energy Suspension generic bump stops (PN 9.9101G):
Sara L.: Suspension &emdash;

I hacked off some tube, and welded a tapped plate to the bottom for the bump stops themselves:
Sara L.: Suspension &emdash;

The rear was the easiest place to start. I took the shock bolt that came with the front shocks, and cut it down to make my own axle side braket:
Sara L.: Suspension &emdash;

From there, it was just a matter of burning the brackets onto the axle, and bolting the shocks up. I got the angle a bit wrong on the axle brackets, but it is likely close enough not to matter. In the photo, you can also see the rear bump stops tacked in place. I need to find a place to really flex things out before I burn those on for good:
Sara L.: Suspension &emdash;

Next up, part 2 – The Front End!

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